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Son tries to fulfill father's dying wish

by Mindy Aguon

Guam - A son of a businessman is on island this week, hoping to fulfill his father's dying wishes to give millions of dollars to charities on Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. Allegations have surfaced that only certain people are benefiting from the tens of millions of dollars his father left behind.

"We're not talking chump change here. It's a substantial amount of money," Jack Hemlani told KUAM News. "They're insulting my mother, insulting my father, just by the actions that they have taken." His father, Puranchand was a self-made, well-respected businessman who amassed tens of millions of dollars. Before his father died in March 2004, he created the Radhi Puran Trust and The Radhi Foundation, spelling out how he wished for his estimated $55 million fortune to be distributed. 

His son recalled, "Upon his death, everything was supposed to go into the trust and transfer over to the Foundation. So everything was for charity."

25% of the funds were to go to India, specifically to fulfill Puran's wishes to build a children's school in the area where he grew up as a child. The remainder of the money was to go to charitable organizations on Guam and in the CNMI, as a way of giving back to the communities that made him so wealthy. "They are the type that feels that everybody should earn their own living, earn their own money, which is what I'm doing which is everybody's doing, hence that's why they left it to charity. I can't predict why they did anything. It's not my say," he said.

But Jack contends since the days before his father's passing, certain individuals have made changes to gain control of the trust to their benefit - not for the Foundation or any charitable organizations.

He explained, "The day before he passed away there were certain amendments that were made to the trust, which actually I think is very questionable and one of the documents, my mother had testified in probate, that it's not my dad's signature and she was surprised to see his signature there."

Puran and Radhi's nephews, Manu Melwani and Don Melwani, have taken control over the trust and the Foundation, but Jack claims they along with several other individuals have overpowered his 92-year-old mother and done things to benefit themselves. The concerns have escalated and resulted in litigation filed by Jack's brother Vashi. 

According to documents filed in court, in one instance Manu Melwani is alleged to have sold his uncle's Upper Tumon property believed to be worth $30 million to a friend for $5 million. In return, Radhi Hemlani only received a home at Talo Verde Estates and four Agana Bay condos.  Melwani is also alleged to have been paid commission for selling the property and making the exchange as well as owning one of the condos and having the option to purchase the other three after Mrs. Hemlani's passing.

"I know some of the things that they have changed," Jack continued. "I think if my father were here, he'd be very upset with some of the things that were declared there."

The Melwanis have become Radhi's caretaker, as Jack lives in Bangkok with his family where he owns his own business.  He maintains it's not about the money but about ensuring his father's wishes are carried out, his mother is not taken advantage of, and his parents' trust is not raided, as he contends it has been. "Even though nothing is left for me, I feel a certain obligation as I said earlier, it's not only the fact that she's my mother," he added.

"I have to answer to my father when I die, and he's going to ask me, 'What did you do? Did you carry out my wish?' What I'm going to say? I just sat aside. No.  I'll do what I can," he stated.

Jack is hoping someone will reach out to help protect his father's wishes and the millions of dollars that Guam's charitable organizations stand to receive from The Radhi Foundation.

KUAM News contacted Manu Melwani for comment, but he did not return our calls as of news time.

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